Mississippi teen pregnancy rate highest in U.S.: CDC

ATLANTA Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:35am EDT

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ATLANTA (Reuters) - Mississippi has the highest teen birthrate in the nation while New Hampshire has the lowest, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday, following up on a report that found the incidence of pregnancy among U.S. teens was falling.

Mississippi reported 55 births per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19 in 2010, more than 60 percent above the U.S. average, according to state data released on Tuesday. New Hampshire's rate was less half the national average at 15.7 births for the same age group.

Teen birth rates were higher in the South and Southwest and lower in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, the CDC said, noting that Hispanics and blacks had the highest teen birth rates.

Last fall the CDC reported that the U.S. teen birth rate dropped 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching a historic low of 34.3 births per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19. It attributed the drop to several factors, including strong pregnancy-prevention messages aimed at teens and increased use of contraception.

From 2007 to 2010, the rates fell at least 8 percent in 47 states and the District of Columbia. In 16 states, declines ranged from 20 percent to 29 percent. Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia were the only states showing little decline.

"In spite of these declines, the U.S. teen birth rate remains one of the highest among other industrialized countries," the CDC said.

(Reporting By David Beasley; Editing by Paul Simao)

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